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How Much Longer for Wilkerson?

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by user ASwaff

My partner in crime already dedicated some space to mentioning Brad Wilkerson's lackluster performance to this point in the season. But, I want to take a minute more to reinforce my opinion that it will only be a matter of time before Ian Kinsler replaces Brad Wilkerson in the leadoff spot.

I've got no problem with Wilkerson staying in the lineup because, first of all, anyone that the Rangers gave so much for deserves the chance to show up. Secondly, he plays defense as well as anyone they could put in the outfield. Not to mention the fact that he's shown a surprising lack of power that I think will come out again eventually.

But, right now he has a .188 batting average, and his strikeout total of 14 is equal to Michael Young, Hank Blalock, and Kevin Mench combined (5, 5 and 4, respectively). That's more than lackluster, it's downright pathetic. Combine that with the fact that he's a career .255 hitter, he hit .248 last year with a .351 OBP, and the fact that his best batting average for a season was .268, and one has to wonder what he was ever doing in the leadoff spot in the first place. By the way, his strikeout totals from 2002 to 2005 are, in order - 161, 155, 152 and 147.

I like Wilkerson's defense, I like his gritty play and, to a lesser extent, I like his aggressiveness at the plate. But he is just not a leadoff hitter. His batting average is too low, his on-base percentage is way too low, he strikes out too much and he doesn't steal enough bases.

Kinsler can't possibly maintain the pace he's setting early in the season, but to this point, he's batting .444 with a .545 OBP, has 3 walks to Wilkerson's 1, and has 2 strikeouts to Wilkerson's 14. It's only a matter of time before Wilkerson loses his spot atop the lineup, but one has to wonder just how much time it will take for Showalter to realize Wilkerson's no leadoff hitter.

(All stats provided by The Baseball Cube. See also Baseball Time in Arlington).

Date

Sun 04/09/06, 11:14 pm EST



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